Stay In Athens and discover Greece's hidden beauties
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The Mycenaean civilization, lasted from 1600 - 1100 BC.
An aggressive City State of skilled warriors, rich in Gold, in which the rich
aristocracy built palaces and temples. Today, you can still
see the impressive remains of this great, once mighty city.
You enter through the Lions' Gate, dating to the Greek Bronze Age and specifically the 13th c.BC. The huge rocks in and around the gate weigh 20 tons, and there are building blocks in the walls of Mykines weighing even more. These walls are called "Cyclopean", built by the Cyclopes, the giants mentioned in Greek mythology. Inside the walls, only the foundations remain from the many buildings, the tombs, palaces, shops and homes that once were part of the city.
In the museum of Mykines you can see richly decorated pottery, jewellery, toys, etc on display. In the lobby you see a model of Mykines, and you get a good insight into the Mycenaean culture.
Leaving the ancient site we stop at Atreus' treasury, a burial chamber, very well preserved. It has the shape of a beehive. There are nine similar near Mycenae, but this is the most impressive of them all. King Atreus was, the son of Pelops, king of ancient Olympia, father of Agamemnon and Menelaus, known from Homer's Iliad and the Trojan War. The tomb dates from about 1250 BC, is over 13 m high and over 14 m wide, and it was for a thousand years the tallest and widest dome in the world. Look at the craftsmanship. How precise the stones are laid, both in the "beehive" and the passage that leads into it.
Modern architecture hasn’t spoiled the old town of Nafplion, which is a feast for the eye. It was the capital of the Greek state in the early 1830s. Here, is the first residential place for the young Bavarian Prince, Otto, the first king of the new country after the revolution against the Turks. The old town is beautiful, with old mansions and paved roads. The town’s fortresses, the Palamidi and the Acronafplia, played a key role during the war of independence. The Venetian influence is everywhere justifying the town’s name as the “Greek Venice”.
God Apollo had a son, ASCLEPIUS, who was born in Epidavros. He gave Asclepius to be raised by Chiron, a wise centaur who had immense
knowledge of medicine and healing herbs, and Asclepius grew up to become a highly skilled physician.
His daughter that worked with him, is HYGEIA, the goddess of health. Hygeia in Greek means health.
The father, Asclepius was curing illnesses, while Hygeia, the daughter, prevented them.
It was natural for the ancient Greeks to build in his birthplace a health centre, that soon became the best health centre in antiquity. Wealthy citizens came here for both, diagnosis and curing. When they arrived here they had to spend the first night in a particular hall, and the dreams that they had on that night would help in the correct diagnosis.
When you visit the small museum of the sanctuary, and take a look at the surgical instruments they used in ancient times, you will be surprised that the priests-doctors went as far as doing brain operations.
The health centre and the city of Epidavros attracted many people and in the 4th c. BC the managers decided to erect a theatre in order to entertain the visitors. The theatre acoustics are amazing. They are so perfect that you can hear people whispering on stage even if you sit at the top, the 55th row. You can practically hear every noise they make. According to experts, one reason is the local limestone used, and the second reason is the corrugated style of the seats. They act like sound traps that bounce the echo back in a 1000th of a second. The strange thing is that they tried this same structure in other theatres as well, but could not get the same effect. This is where the quality of the local limestone comes to play its role. Whatever the explanation may be, Polykleitos, the architect, used techniques that we learned, only recently.
Today the theatre is still in use, primarily showing ancient Greek comedies and tragedies, such as Antigone, Oedipus, Prometheus, The Trojan women, and reviving some of the greatest plays of antiquity. You can watch performances of ancient Greek comedies and tragedies on weekends from the beginning of July to the end of August. Even English-speaking theatre companies come to perform here.